I’m not sure if I mentioned this previously, but my nephew Dexter is a Jedi. Born this year on May the 4th, he kind of became one by default. (May the fourth be with you….)
Consequently, when it came time for Halloween, his moms decided he had to be DRESSED as a Jedi. And of course this meant he had to be as screen accurate as possible while still maintaining comfort because, after all, he is a baby. And I am the insane one with control issues, not him.
NOTE: The photos here are not the greatest. Mainly because I either A)shot them with my phone or B)shot them of a baby. Or both. Because babies tend to wiggle.
SO. I set out to find a lightsaber first, because the whole outfit is really about the lightsaber. I wanted one small enough to fit his body size, and also something he could chew on. I found one at Build-a-Bear workshop, where they had a plush lightsaber in red, which produced excellent sound effects when you pressed the end of it. More importantly, it could be chewed on. Not exactly screen accurate, but it works.
Then I went to Maggie’s excellent site and realized something – my Jedi Youngling had no hair. I rectified that by knitting him a hair cap using soft brown yarn mixed with fun fur and finishing it off with a tiny little rattail braid. You can find my Ravelry info on the hat here.
Then I went looking for photos of Jedi Younglings from the movies. I had originally thought of doing Obi Wan Kenobi’s (how awesome is it that Obi Wan is in spell check?) costume from Episode 1, but quickly realized that white/taupe/beige pants and babies do not really mix. So I found a photo of a bunch of Younglings in class, and focused on a young man in a dark brown undershirt and pants, a beige colored overshirt and the ever present dark colored cloak and boots that looked like it would be suitable for translating into baby size.
I went to Joann Fabrics to look for fabrics. I know from reading Maggie’s site that the original outershirt was an Indian Homespun called Khadi, and that the inner shirt looked rather knit-like, and that the pants were regular looking pants tucked into a modified version of East German Army boots. The cloak is also typically made of wool.
This is roughly when I made the decision to have the costume look as good as possible while using whatever was least expensive and soft for Dexter. Consequently I was able to shop completely in the remnant section for his outfit, with the exception of the leather items. I found a yard of a knit fleece that was smooth on the inside and knit on the outside for his cloak. I got a yard of soft mottled beige linen for the outershirt and tabards. Next I got a yard of brown silky poly for his innershirt and pants.
For the belt I decided to try to match it to Obi Wan’s belt from Episode 1 and 2 while not going crazy with the accuracy. I bought a half-yard of faux brown leather from Joann Fabrics that I was also able to use for his booties.
For the knee-high booties, I used McCall’s pattern 6342 and copied the western boot pattern. I modified it so it was straight across in front, but kept the dip in the back to make it easier to put on and take off. They were so easy to make that I might make him a bunch more in other fabrics.
The undershirt and pants were modifications of Simplicity 4434. The mere idea of sewing actual pants with pockets and a button fly for a baby seemed to be the height of insanity, so I made his pants pull on PJ pants with an elastic waist. I also made them extra long so he can wear them for a bit longer. I made the shirt a wrap shirt and sewed a ribbed grosgrain ribbon along the neckline to give the illusion of the pleated look on the innershirt worn by the kid in the movie. The whole thing is very comfortable and he doesn’t seem to mind wearing them.
The outershirt was made of the linen. I used the same pattern as the one for the undershirt, but widened the sleeves and made them a bit longer (we rolled them for now), and I bound the edges with the same fabric along the neckline. I made the tabards to be the width of his shoulders, and they do come together in a V in the back as in the photos I have seen. However, they are not “quite” long enough in front, as I ran out of linen.
For the belt I used the last few scraps of linen I had to make the “obi” type piece underneath. I sewed the sides down on a strip of the faux leather, and stitched it to the linen piece in the very center of the belt. This is mostly hidden by the buckle. I took a thinner strip of the faux leather and sewed it to a belt buckle I found at Joann Fabrics that was as close as I could find to Obi Wan’s. I stitched the leather loops on either side of it, and then top stitched them down on top of the leather and linen. Then I took the rivets I had left over from Katherine Parr’s costume from Project Tudor (back in 2009) and riveted through the little belt, the bigger belt and the obi, trying to put the rivets in the correct places as the movie belt, while scaling it down for an 18.5 inch tummy. (Excellent part about babies – they are mostly cylindrical, so not a lot of measurement changes.)
For the food capsules (which are apparently pen caps with buttons glued to the bottom!) I bought some pens that had caps the same width as the leather belt so the scale would be right. I didn’t have time to glue anything to the bottom of them, but they look fine. I chose them for their size and color in matching to the belt an the movie belt. They had holes in the top, so I ran a length of gold wire through each, twisted it shut, and then slid them onto the narrow belt on top of the larger belt. There are then rivets set behind them that hold them in place. They are on there tightly enough that they cannot be removed, but can move back and forth.
A Covertec clip for the lightsaber would have been ridiculously huge on a baby, and there wasn’t a lot more available, so I made a simple leather loop and attached it to the belt so the lightsaber would just slide inside and be easy to be removed. I also chose to go with pouches made of the faux leather, as I knew he might grab at them or sit/lie on them, so they needed to be soft. They are basic pouches with velcro closures to make it easy to get to Cheerios or a pacifier. The back closes with more velcro to adjust as he grows.
Dexter seemed to be okay with the amount of clothing put on him thus far.
For the cloak I used a pattern I found on Maggie’s site here. I drew the pattern freehand using his measurements. I didn’t have quite enough fabric to make the sleeves as long as I would like, but it looks ok. I did not do a seam down the back as I really needed to conserve the fabric. I serged the inside seams and made small hems on the front edges and bottom of the cloak. I rolled the edges of the sleeves (because of the lack of additional fabric there) and also rolled the hem on the front of the hood. I did put the pleat at the back of the neck in the cloak, and made the hood using a rectangle sewn along one seam. I put together the cloak late at night and mistakenly put the seam along the top of his head instead of the back of his head. Ah well. The proportions of the cloak worked well for Dexter’s size. Not having to line something, and having a fabric that didn’t shed was also nice.
I was really happy with how the entire outfit turned out. Dexter’s moms love it, and it is comfy and will be nice to wear on a 45 degree Halloween evening. Also, Dexter seems to like it. I need to make one for my other small nephew, Kou, but I think my almost 17 year old nephew Evan probably doesn’t want one at this point, lol.
I think there will be a lot more Star Wars costuming in my (and Dexter’s) future.